State’s Toughest Class 5A District is ... 10-5A-DI
Last season, Shadow Creek knocked off Foster twice as they reached the Class 5A DII State Championship game.
Both teams are loaded and could meet again in the regional finals. But that's not the end of the story. Angleton, Friendswood and Hightower are in the next cut and could make playoff runs of their own.
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VYPE Preseason Rankings
(Bold Denotes Playoff Teams)
VYPE Preseason Awards
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Alec Bryant, Shadow Creek
CO-OFFENSIVE MVPS: Ryan Stubblefield, Foster Jordan Jones, Angleton
CO-DEFENSIVE MVPS: Xavion Alford, Shadow Creek Chidozie Nwankwo, Foster
BREAKOUT PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Kyron Drones, Shadow Creek
SLEEPER TEAM: Hightower
Shadow Creek Sharks
"Them Creek Boys" are back after making history in their first varsity season. The went 15-1, just falling short in the state title game against Highland Park. Coach Brad Butler is at the epicenter of this program as Shadow Creek becomes a state power. The defense will be the strength with LSU-commit Alec Bryant (70 tackles, 13 sacks) and Kansas State-commit Ronald Triplette leading the charge up front. The linebackers are Kansas State-commit Jeremiah Harris (90 tackles), Warren Shankle, TJ Harris and Courtney Brown. The back end is elite with national recruit Xavion Alford (58 tackles, 6 INTs) and Jaylen Lane patrolling the secondary. The new quarterback will be Kyron Drones, the son of Sharks' defensive line coach Kevin Drones. He has a big arm and is a physical runner. The OL is anchored by Damien Jackson, while WR Jared Jackson will be the deep threat. Tight end Trent McGaughey has become a national recruit for 2022 and should play a bigger role in the offense. The bar has been set high at Shadow Creek.
Coach Shaun McDowell has revenge on his mind after falling to Shadow Creek in last year's Regional Final. With 15 returners, the Falcons are loaded. The Falcons are known for an explosive offense and this year will be no different with quarterback Ryan Stubblefield (2,7653 yards, 33 TDs passing) back to run the offense. He will be protected by the national recruit at left tackle, Rueben Fatheree (6-foot-9, 300-pounds). Stubblefield's top target with be stud WR Cody Jackson, who reminds opponents of former Falcon CeeDee Lamb. Jackson had over 1,000 yards receiving a year ago. Big back Issac Johnson (1,114 yards, 13 TDs rushing) will carry the load between the tackles. Up front is Chidozie Nwankwo, an Ed Oliver look-a-like, who can stuff the run and rush the QB. Nwankwo is pur power down in the trenches, as in the winter he stars on the wrestling mat and is a threat to win a state title there year-in and year-out. Linebacker Ricky Rich will pick up the slack in the middle after recording 82 tackles a year ago. The big game of the regular season for Foster is when it faces Shadow Creek on October 24. Circle that game!
The 'Stangs didn't make the postseason a year ago going 6-4 and 3-4 in district. Coach Robert Koopman will get his squad back in the conversation with 12 returners back on the field. Three-year starter Luke Grden returns after throwing for over 1,800 yards as a sophomore. His favorite target will be Christian Lee at tight end, who had 559 yards and six receiving touchdowns last year. He's committed to North Texas. Noah Palitz will tote the mail at RB in the spread offense, while Ryan Mitchell will open holes on the line. The defense returns eight starters and will fly around the ball as they are a bit undersized. The line will be held up by Eliot Spiller, while Dane Roenne handles the middle of the field. Trey Mappe will patrol the secondary.
The Wildcats finished second in the district, just falling to Shadow Creek and beating Foster. Coach Jason Brittain enters his second season and continues the Angleton philosophy of groundand-pound and playing great defense. The 'Cats reached the second round a year ago and return seven starters. Running back Jordan Jones is a workhorse and rushed for over 1,200 yards last year. Quarterback Justis Mayon will take over for the departed all-district selection Seth Cosme, while the offensive line will need to be rebuilt. The defense is led by returning first-teamer Cameron Stone (52 tackles, 4 INTs) on the corner, while second-teamer Landris White (50 tackles, 8 sacks) will rush the edge. LB Jose Rodriguez (104 tackles) can run sideline to sideline. It's going to be a bit of a reloading situation for Angleton, but the Wildcat program has always been able to backfill talent. Other players to watch include Trayvon Smith (CB/WR) and Armand Dudley (DT/OT).
It's year one of Joseph Sam, who comes over from Mansfield where he was the defensive coordinator, to take over the proud Fort Bend football power. The 'Canes reached the postseason, while going 3-8 on the year. Jakolby Longino will be the full-time QB as a junior and will be protected by Texas A&M-commit and district first-teamer Smart Chibuzo. Kobie Campbell is the top utility player, who has verballed to Rice. Don't forget about the arrival of Willowridge star Latrel Neville, who is a national WR prospect in 2021. Watch for him out of the backfield and in the slot. Duke commit, Christian Hood is a tackling-machine in the middle of the defense, which should be much-improved with the hiring of Sam. Donovan Davis and Jacob Williams will need to keep offensive linemen off of Hood to let him work.
BF Terry Rangers
Head coach Cornelius Anthony's bunch returns 15 starters that weathered through a 2-8 season. The Rangers will be improved this season as some youngsters received some valuable varsity experience. Quarterback Brandon Kyles threw for 1,000 yards in 2018 and will be complemented by Kellen Stewart and Michael Odom as offensive playmakers. Second-teamer Trey Reyes is a ferocious tackler, while Carey Corley will get the ball at RB. The Rangers will need to beat Texas City, Ball and Hightower to be in the playoff conversation. Experience is key and the Rangers have it.
Texas City Stingarees
Texas City is the smallest school in the district by enrollment, but coach Leland Surovik won't use that as an excuse. This is a murderer's row of a district slate and staying healthy will be key. Keeping QB Phillip McDaniel upright will be paramount as the second teamer showed off his versatility with five passing and seven rushing scores in 2018. McDaniel finished the year with more than 1,100 total yards on offense. RB Semaj McCall will run behind Thomas Whitley and Ke'Kerrin Price. LB Kobe Lane, DT Jontrel Stevenson and DB Corday Williams are the headliners on the defense. The defense will need to make some stops against some high-powered offenses in the district.
Galveston Ball Tors
The Galveston Ball Tors went 3-6 last season with the help of District Offensive MVP Clarence Dalton, who rushed for over 1,300 yards a year ago. The Nevada commit is a stud but needs some assistance. Terry Webb and Eric Rodriguez will open the lanes on the offensive line and Graham Ledbetter will be the signal caller. But everything runs through Dalton on offense. On defense, Webb, Trevor Turner and Carson Hebert will play on both sides of the trenches, while Kristian Dalton will patrol the secondary. It's going to be tough sledding for the Tors, so coach Kimble Anders will need to batten down the hatches.